Thursday, November 13, 2014

Toronto Jilted BF looking for Elizabeth Gallagher inspires new ticket-sharing website

Jordan Axani planned a trip with his girlfriend name Elizabeth Gallagher, but they split. He offered his ex's tickets to any woman with her name and a Canadian passport. AP
When Torontonian Jordan Axani, 28, posted on Reddit last week that he was looking for an Elizabeth Gallagher to take his ex-girlfriend’s place on a ‘round the world adventure’, social media buzzed with people hoping to nab the trip.

The news gave another Toronto Jordan an idea that he hopes will shake up the travel industry. Jordan Bishop, the 23-year-old founder of Yore Oyster — a site that helps travelers find cheap flights — said Axani inspired him to create a new site feature called Connections.

Connections allows users to post spare plane tickets with the name of the person the ticket is registered to in hopes of finding a traveler with the same name to take it for free. Users can also sign up to be notified about tickets available in their name.

From Berlin, Bishop told Torstar News Service that Connections lets travelers skirt airline rules preventing name changes on non-transferable tickets.

“We want to be creative and eliminate any waste,” he said. “There is nothing worse than paying $1,000 for a flight and not being able to take it.”

Among the handful of tickets already on Connections is a November roundtrip from Toronto to San Francisco for a Jon Benson, an early December roundtrip from Vancouver to New York for an Amy Ng and a one-way December ticket from Toronto to Paris for Kelly Marshall.

“We haven’t found any matches yet, but I am very optimistic given the amount of people talking about it,” said Bishop, who believes a match can be made in the next couple of weeks. “As more people hear about it and more flights go on there, the odds of finding a match will go up.”

Bishop said he and Axani “are both big fans of what the other is doing,” but have been unable to connect. He also said Connections has yet to receive flack from airlines and industry authorities.

WestJet spokesperson Brie Thorsteinson Ogle called Connections, “the prerogative of the person buying the ticket.”

“How they choose to use or transfer is their choice,” she said, while noting that West Jet allows name changes.

Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline has no comment on Connections, but noted that name changes on domestic flights are “generally” permitted while international flight name changes are not because they require advance passenger info to be provided to many countries.

“Historically, airlines have been reluctant to allow name changes because of the risk of unscrupulous people using bogus names, (they) might buy a block of tickets on sale or far out from the flight when cheaper fares are more widely available, and then resell them closer to the date of the flight at a higher price,” Fitzpatrick said, while citing fraud, security and seat inventory management concerns.

“As with all things, people should be wary about purchasing items on the internet and be sure it is a known, trusted source,” he said.

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